Commission launches probe into Warner fraud allegations

Friday, January 24, 2014 | 9:09 AM    

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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – The Integrity Commission has confirmed it has initiated an investigation into former national security minister Austin ‘Jack’ Warner regarding allegations of fraud relating to his role as president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).

In a statement, the Commission said it has since asked President Anthony Carmona to appoint a tribunal on the matter saying it had taken note of the April 2013 report of the CONCACAF Integrity Committee.

The report accused Warner of using deceptive methods to secure funds from CONCACAF and FIFA, as well as induce FIFA to transfer funds earmarked for development purposes to bank accounts he controlled.

The CONCACAF report also claims that Warner accepted money intended for FIFA that landed into his personal bank accounts.

But Warner, who resigned his ministerial position and was re-elected as a member of parliament in a subsequent by-election, has in the past dismissed the report.

He has said that he has had consultations with three eminent legal minds in Justice Zainool Hosein, Andrew Mitchell, QC, and Bertram E Commissiong, QC, regarding the charges levelled in the report.

"However, the lawyers concluded that the committee made clear pronouncements as to the culpability and guilt of Jack Warner. These are not and cannot be supported by the evidence and the facts.

"The conclusions appear to be driven by a desire to castigate, malign and punish rather than to present a true and fair representation of the state of affairs and/or the circumstances surrounding a number of transactions addressed in the committee's report,” Warner said then.

The Integrity Commission said that it had decided to enquire into the allegations against Warner “in the interest of the public” and reminded the public that under the Integrity in Public Life Act, the Commission “may on its own initiative… consider and enquire into any alleged breaches of the Act or any allegations of corrupt or dishonest conduct.”

“In pursuance thereof the Commission has written to the President of the Republic, His Excellency Mr. Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, SC, ORTT, in accordance with Section 15 of the IPLA requesting the appointment of a Tribunal to enquire further into Declarations submitted by Mr Warner.”

The Integrity in Public Life Act allow for the appointment of a two or three member tribunal “to conduct an enquiry to verify the contents of the declaration or the statement filed with the Commission”.





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